Saturday, May 29, 2010


I am a snacker and I always have been and of course my choice of snacks if usually savory. There is something so satisfying about a snack - an almost guilty pleasure, and I think in this case guilt is good as you are nurturing yourself! My sons and I have a series of snacks that we love to eat and they need to be easy, fast and fun to eat. One of our classic snacks is bruschetta and it quite often ends up being lunch. It's just so versatile and so adaptable to a variety of toppings. The concept is Italian - crusty grilled bread covered in olive oil and kissed by garlic - yum! It's good all by itself. The Italians often use chopped fresh and very ripe tomatoes, mixed with olive oil, fresh basil, garlic and salt as one their classic toppings. One of simplest versions using tomato is to take a fresh tomato and coat the bread with it as soon as it is crisp out of the oven. This apparently is a Spanish version and has become our favorite accompaniment to eggs fried in olive oil. It is delicious. It starts with a very high quality bread and a good olive oil. I use a La Brea Bakery Baguette and olive oil from Italy or Spain. We often top ours with prosciutto or salami too. Our current favorite topping is marinated goat cheese and roasted peppers. The goat cheese recipe comes from my friend - here's the recipe:


One baguettte, sliced on the diagonal into 3/4" slices
Olive Oil - up to 3/4 cup
1 - 2 large peeled garlic cloves
2 teaspoons sea salt (I use Maldon)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Put bread slices on a large baking pan. Brush or drizzle olive oil over them. Sprinkle with sea salt. Place in oven and cooked until brown on the edges and crusty on top. As soon as they are out of the oven, take the garlic cloves and scrape the tops of the bread with the raw garlic.
Top with the topping of your choice and it is best topped while warm although they will keep for several hours. If using fresh tomato in the Spanish style, cut the tomato in half and scrape on top of the bread slices until they turn red and soften. Eat immediately!

Marinated Goat Cheese

1 log of goat cheese
1 garlic clove minced
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence
Put goat cheese in a covered container. Pour olive oil over and put in garlic cloves and seasoning. Shake to cover and refrigerate, turning occassionally for 1/2 hour up to several days. The flavor develops over time.

Roasted Peppers

2 - 3 Peppers - red, yellow and/or orange cut in half, seeds removed
1/4 cup Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Salt
Basil leaves to taste - chiffonade into thin ribbons
1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves minced
Optional:  Small piece of salted anchovy, mashed or 1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste

Turn oven to 450 degrees. Place peppers cut side down on large baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil and roast until they start becoming black and blistered - about 10 to 15 minutes. Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or another plate for 15 minutes to soften. Then, peel off skin and slice into ribbons. Add remaining olive oil, garlic, basil leaves and salt and anchovy (if using). Let marinate for several hours or overnight.

Five Element Analysis

The bread and olive oil is from the Wood Element, garlic from Metal and salt from the Water Element. That's the basic Five Element composition of Bruschetta. With goat cheese, you add more Metal and with Roasted Peppers you add Fire. Adding cured and salted Meat adds more Water which helps enhance that element and if you use anchovy, it brings in even more. It is also a snack, which makes it more of a Fiery food. The Earth Element is not represented here so that needs to be added - perhaps something sweet would be good. I often bring in figs or dates to go with the cured meat to make it a more balanced snack.

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